Braves Country was in disarray after watching Philadelphia – and all their well spent money this offseason – trounce Atlanta in three straight games.
Literally, Tiger Woods took over Braves’ Twitter.
Not only did the Phillies sweep the Braves, but Atlanta’s pitching looked hopeless against a deep Philadelphia lineup, which most people could see coming since January.
However, it is just three games in a grueling 162-game grind, and hell, the calendar had not even turned to April yet (there should be a rule that no games before April count). All this fan base needed was a reminder that their beloved Braves could indeed win a baseball game. And on Opening Day in Atlanta, in front of a sellout crowd, Ronald Acuña and the boys delivered.
Ender Inciarte got the party started with a leadoff home-run in his first at-bat at SunTrust Park, foreshadowing how the rest of the night would go. The Braves would score four first-inning runs, highlighted by one of the worst defensive innings I have ever seen from Chicago. But at 0-3, Atlanta will take everything they can get.
In the third, the Braves added to their lead courtesy of Ronald Acuña Jr. The phenom led off the inning with a laser over the left field wall that Kyle Hendricks (the Cubs pitcher) did not even turn around to watch.
Sean Newcomb was on the bump for the first time all year, and he did what we’ve come to expect from the third-year starter – showcase elite stuff but force himself out of the game early because of a lack of control. It was a blessing he did not allow a run. Newcomb gave up six hits and four walks before Brian Snitker had seen enough, pulling him in favor of Wes Parsons in the fifth inning.
Parsons, who has become one of the feel-good storylines early in the season, was reliable once again in relief. He came in throwing strikes and got out of the inning without any damage, which meant he was in line for the win if the Braves could hang on the rest of the way.
The Cubs would gift the Braves two more runs in the bottom half of the fifth on a throwing error by David Bote, capping off the worst fielding game from any team this season. The Cubs made six errors on the night, leading to six Atlanta runs. However, the Braves only needed one to claim their first victory of the season.
Jesse Biddle took care of the Cubs in the sixth and seventh. Chad Sobotka pitched a clean eight. And Arodys Vizcaino made his first appearance of the season, sealing the shutout victory in the home opener. It was an electric performance against a quality Cubs team that should allow Braves Country to take a deep breathe and strap in for the remaining 158 games. It is going to be a wild ride in the NL East.
Every Braves’ positional player had a hit.
Wes Parsons recorded his first major league win.
In the first inning, Brian McCann delivered a two-out, two-RBI single to put the Braves up 4-0. Those were his first RBIs since returning to Atlanta.
Remember how ridiculous Ozzie Albies was in April last year? Let me remind you: Albies slashed .293/.341/.647 with a .988 OPS and nine home runs. He’s off to a fantastic start this year too. Albies went three for four yesterday with a double and an RBI.
MLB.com’s Mark Bowman has not been shy about the concerns regarding Arodys Vizcaino’s shoulder. However, he looked fine in his first appearance of the season. He struck out one and faced the minimum to close out the game.